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Chapter 62: Misunderstanding
Spirit Master Ying Chen was the founder of Splendid Cloud Sect. These words were to tell him that Splendid Cloud Sect had merpeople scales but did not want to give them to him? A few years ago, he wrote to the big sects seeking merpeople scales, and all the replies he received were negative.
The paper was ordinary, and could be bought in many places in Lingyou World. The writing was neat and void of individuality. The secret-teller did not dare to expose their identity. This meant that person was someone whom Radiance Sect and Splendid Cloud Sect knew, and also someone who knew the fact that he had once asked for merpeople scales.
A member of the ten sects?
Jin Yue quickly rejected this speculation. Right now, the evil cultivators were restless. The ten sects could only defend against the evil cultivators by being united. Even if they knew Splendid Cloud Sect had merpeople scales and would not give them, they would only block this. Privately, they would urge Heng Yan to change his decision, but would absolutely not tell secrets in this manner.
Could it be evil cultivators who were trying to sow discord?
“How dare they!” Jin Yue slapped the paper onto the table. “The evil cultivators are outrageous!”
Was Radiance Sect such an unreasonable sect in the eyes of the evil cultivators? How valuable were the merpeople scales? If Splendid Cloud Sect was willing to give them, that was good fortune. If they were not, it was human nature. Would they hate Splendid Cloud Sect due to this?
Also, Path Friend Heng Yan was not one to see someone in danger and do nothing. He had given the merpeople scales secretly to Radiance Sect without even demanding anything in return. Splendid Cloud Sect was so noble and generous, yet people schemed against them in secret. How could he ignore this?!
“Spread this order: investigate where the evil cultivators are hiding, and advertise how the evil cultivators are sowing discord, so that the cultivators and common people are on guard.” The paper turned to dust in Jin Yue’s hands but he did not feel any better. Anyone who was flesh and blood could not ignore this matter.
He had originally planned to go into seclusion to increase his cultivation. But now it appeared he could not do that in the short term. His cultivation could be postponed for a while, but the actions of the evil cultivators could not be tolerated. Today, these evil cultivators could be trying to break the relationship between Radiance Sect and Splendid Cloud Sect. Tomorrow, they could do so to other sects.
The evil cultivators were really rats who hid in the gutters and could not be seen in the daylight. They only knew such lowly tactics.
Song He had just finished teaching swordsmanship to the inner sect disciples. As he walked back to his cave residence, he saw an apprentice hurriedly come out of the main hall. He thought something had happened and asked, “What happened?”
“Grand Shishu.” The apprentice bowed and said, “The sect master has just ordered we have to advertise the lowly tactics of the evil cultivators, so that the other cultivators and the common people will know of them and pay attention to their own safety.”
“It is good for everyone to be alert.” Song He was puzzled inside. A few days ago, the sect master said for them to be careful in their conduct—why had he suddenly changed his decision? In reality, he agreed with this latter method. Being low-key and concealing the matter was worse than having the people and the cultivators learn of the truth and prepare.
The common people were having good lives—who desired for the evil cultivators to destroy that?
Some people looked down on ordinary people and on cultivators without good talent, but they forgot that these people constituted the majority of Lingyou World. The power of the masses was unimaginable sometimes.
After saying a few words to this disciple, Song He walked into the main hall to find Jin Yue and said what he had said to the disciple outside.
Jin Yue did not hide from him, and told him about how someone was trying to sow discord between the two sects using merpeople scales.
“Where’s the letter?” Song He said. “It is best to tell Splendid Cloud Sect so they can prepare.”
“I destroyed the letter.” Jin Yue’s expression froze. Then he quickly said, “Do not worry, I will send a message to Path Friend Heng Yan.”
Looking at the angry Jin Yue, Song He thought of many years ago when he and Jin Yue joined Radiance Sect together. At the time, the sect master had been someone who wore his emotions on his sleeve. Whenever he encountered something unjust, he wanted to pull out his sword and stop the injustice. As time passed, the sect master grew more reliable, and it became difficult to see clear emotions on his face. Today, however, he seemed to look like he used to in the past.
“That’s fine, as long as Sect Master Heng Yan believes our words,” Song He said. “Coincidentally, I have matters at Splendid Cloud Sect, so I will carry the message in person.”
“This is good.” Jin Yue nodded and asked in puzzlement, “What business at Splendid Cloud Sect do you have to conduct in person?”
“Nothing major,” Song He said with his usual expression. “A while ago, I made an appointment to discuss the path with Path Friend Wang Tong. I cannot break my word.”
“Then go.” Jin Yue knew his shidi was someone that fulfilled his promises. “Then go and remember to bring gifts.”
The square-faced sect master sent someone to wait for Radiance Sect’s response. When he heard that Peak Master Song He of Radiance Sect was hurriedly travelling to Splendid Cloud Sect, he knew his plan had succeeded. Radiance Sect was powerful, and sword cultivators were ones to hold grudges. Splendid Cloud Sect had lied to Radiance Sect. Radiance Sect could not accept this.
“Have our disciples be cautious. If we find any suspicious people, we cannot allow them to commit evil,” the square-faced sect master emphasized. “If they cannot win, then run. Find sects like Radiance Sect, Clear Dawn Sect, and Nine Phoenix Sect to ask for help. Do not find Splendid Cloud Sect. Disciples from that sect are unreliable.”
It was imperative to crack down on the evil cultivators, and pulling Splendid Cloud Sect out of the top ten was also a priority.
He would not give up on any of the two.
The square-faced sect master did not know the first thing Peak Master Song He did after arriving in Harmonious City was to disguise himself. He ordered a table of food in a restaurant in Harmonious City, and went to Splendid Cloud Sect after filling himself up. He told the matter of the “evil cultivators telling secrets” to Heng Yan, and also gave a great amount of gifts. Then, he discussed the path for a while with Wang Tong.
Wang Tong and Song He’s paths did not have many similarities. Wang Tong’s path was one of doing as one pleased, while Song He’s path was to follow rules and not let himself indulge.
The two sat for a while and drank a few kettles of tea. Wang Tong could not stop himself any longer. “I paid you back the spirit stones I owed. “So what are you sitting here for?
“Where does Brother Wang Tong’s words come from?” Song He put down his teacup. “You and I have been friends for many years. Why would I find you for such a minor matter?”
Wang Tong raised an eyebrow at him. Then what was he sitting here for? The two had been acquainted for many years. Song He was obsessed with the sword, and because Wang Tong was poor, he spent the majority of his time on the mountain. Their friendship was not close.
“Actually, because my cultivation has not budged for very long, I found an excuse to come out and travel.” Song He’s posture was very elegant as he drank his tea. He had a calm expression and his movements flowed. People would have a difficult him recognizing him as a sword cultivator.
“So that is why.” Wang Tong nodded. “I said long ago you sword cultivators put too much pressure on yourselves. Cultivation is to also cultivate the heart; you cannot just work hard.”
Hearing Wang Tong’s words, Song He nodded. When it was noon, he suddenly said, “The honored sect has lunch at this time?”
Wang Tong: “…”
If not for Song He being a sword cultivator, he would suspect that the other did not come in search of a breakthrough method, but to freeload food from Harmonious City.
The first day after Song He arrived at Splendid Cloud Sect, the square-faced man did not get any news that the two sides were fighting.
The third day after Song He arrived at Splendid Cloud Sect, the square-faced sect master still did not receive any news of conflict but heard that Radiance Sect had sent a great number of gifts to Splendid Cloud Sect.
The seventh day after Song He arrived at Splendid Cloud Sect, the two sects were still not in conflict. He heard that Song He and Wang Tong appeared on the lake together to fish and discuss the path, and went to the restaurant to eat the newly released coal fire hotpot.
The tenth day after Song He arrived at Splendid Cloud Sect, Song He and Wang Tong went together to eat roasted rabbit for a few spirit stones.
The square-faced sect master waited and waited and did not receive the news he had been expecting. But the disciples of his sect caught several suspicious evil cultivators.
He did not believe it! He did not believe that Radiance Sect and Splendid Cloud Sect could have such a good relationship. Radiance Sect must have swallowed their anger in order to work with Splendid Cloud Sect to fight the evil cultivators.
After the evil cultivators were taken care of, Splendid Cloud Sect would be struck with misfortune.
The square-faced sect master said gravely, “Have the disciples increase their investigation of evil cultivators. Do not let their conspiracy succeed.”
No one could stop his desire to join the ten top sects, not even the evil cultivators!
Lin Hu had gone to many sects and had met very many disciples, but he had not seen many like Auspicious Pavilion. They would have a reading when they got up and dressed, they would divine when they would go to sleep. People would even divine which direction to sit in at meals.
But it was also thanks to this sect that he finally learned there was something Kong Hou was not skilled at.
Divination was something that all cultivators knew, but other than the divinators, other cultivators could only divine an approximation based on their cultivation. Still, people as unskilled as Kong Hou were rare. But she was very interested in this field and constantly divined using a set of turtle shells Pavilion Master Sun had gifted her.
Even more frightening was that Master and Path Friend Cheng Yi cooperated well and pretended that Miss Kong Hou’s readings were very accurate. Today, she said that Master would have a loss of wealth, and Master lost a jade pendant. Another day, she said Path Friend Cheng Yi should pay attention to his feet, and Path Friend Cheng Yi “fell” on flat ground.
How could they spoil a young girl like this? This was the worst way to teach a junior.
“Elder Lin…” Kong Hou walked in front of Lin Hu with her turtle shells and said in a small voice, “You have to be careful today. The reading from the turtle shells says that you will have a danger of blood today. But you will be unharmed, so it should not be a big problem.”
Lin Hu: “…”
“Miss Kong Hou, you will not go onto the path of divination in the future?” Lin Hu felt this was a serious problem.
“Of course not.” Kong Hou laughed. “I do not have much talent for divination. If I cultivate divination, I fear I will have no chance of ascending in this lifetime.”
Fortunately, she still had self-knowledge.
Lin Hu went out to take care of business. On the way back, he suddenly remembered the reading Kong Hou had given him this morning. He expressionlessly walked next to a tree and brushed his finger against the trunk. The hard bark broke his finger’s skin, and beads of blood appeared.
So many people spoiled that young girl. One more… would not be too much.
Lin Hu turned around and saw Master standing at the gates of Auspicious Pavilion. He put his hands behind his back and walked in front of Huan Zhong. “Master, you did not go out with Miss Kong Hou today?”
“She is learning how to plant trees with Pavilion Master Sun.” Huan Zhong glanced behind him. “Go in, the wind is strong.”
Lin Hu: “…”
Master was worrying about him today same as Miss Kong Hou?
“Do not let your wound dry,” Huan Zhong said calmly. “Do not forget you have a danger of blood today.”
Lin Hu: “…”
Ah, men. They could do anything for beauty.
“Some trees need their roots washed when they are transplanted, and all their branches cut off. For example, these kinds have to have their roots washed.” Pavilion Master Sun pointed at the trees in the yard. The yard had a high density of spirit energy, spirit energy released by the flora.
Kong Hou crouched beside Pavilion Master Sun with a metal shovel in her hand and mud on her hems. The old and young crouched in the grass, and looked a bit like farmers.
“Is it the same with flowers?” Kong Hou watched as Pavilion Master Sun moved a young sapling to another hole and poured some water for the small tree.
“Flowers are very different from trees.” Pavilion Master patted the soil. He stood and said, “Their only similarity is that they grow in soil.”
Kong Hou: “…”
That was such a great similarity.
“Come,” Pavilion Master Sun said in a low voice to Kong Hou, “I will take you to eat a kind of fruit. Only two were produced in five hundred years. We will split the two.”
Kong Hou looked around. She made sure other disciples of Auspicious Pavilion could not hear them. “Is this all right?” She was an outsider; if she ate this, what would the disciples of Auspicious Pavilion think?
“I will give what I own to whoever I like—what is wrong about that?” Pavilion Master Sun took out a fruit the size of a pigeon’s egg from his storage ring and put it in Kong Hou’s hand. “None of my descendants like planting trees, and these fruits will not like being eaten by them.”
They did not like planting trees, so he would not allow them to eat the fruits the trees produced?
Pavilion Master Sun… was very willful.
“This fruit is so beautiful.” Kong Hou looked at the red spirit fruit. This kind of red was extremely pure and more beautiful than rubies. She almost didn’t bear to eat it.
“This fruit is called Cloud Seeking Fruit. It is a spirit fruit that grows from clouds. Long ago, I entered a secret realm which opens once every five centuries. Because I did not have sufficient cultivation, I did not dare to go in deeply. In the end, I just harvested some herbs and ore on the outside.” When Pavilion Master Sun talked about what had happened in the past, he felt amused. “I obtained these two fruits by accident. Everyone else was in a hurry to go into the secret realm. I was the only one left outside after a day. When I sat on the ground and made a reading, I found a cloud that was floating especially low, so I flew up to take a look. Only, it was not a cloud, but a tree floating in the air. I once read related records in ancient books. There is a kind of tree that grows within clouds and blooms once every millennium. If it touches the earth, it will wither and die. Do you know what this tree is called?”
Kong Hou thought of a possibility. Her expression turned excited. “Is it… a Cloud Seeking Tree?”
“You are correct. It was the Cloud Seeking Tree.” Pavilion Master Sun nodded. “I plucked the fruit from the tree. You will barely manage to absorb this fruit if you eat it now. Wait until you reach Core Formation or Mind Manifestation before you use it.”
“Pavilion Master, do you have a Cloud Seeking Tree branch?” Kong Hou ignored the Cloud Seeking Fruit and asked about another matter.
“A branch of the Cloud Seeking Tree?” Pavilion Master Sun shook his head. “The Cloud Seeking Tree is a plant with intelligence. It was not easy for me to even pluck the fruits off—how could it let me cut off a branch?”
“Then where is the secret realm? Will it open again?”
Pavilion Master Sun did not ask why Kong Hou was so interested in this matter. He responded with a smile, “It is a coincidence to speak of, but it has been five hundred years since the secret realm opened last time. The secret realm will open in a fortnight.” He took out a map from his sleeve and handed it to Kong Hou. “This is the path to the secret realm.”
Kong Hou took the map and glanced at it. The location marked on the map was Kui City.
Kui City… that belonged to the jurisdiction of Primary Luck Sect?
“Thank you, Pavilion Master. You have helped me greatly.” Kong Hou stood and bowed deeply to Pavilion Master Sun.
Pavilion Master Sun’s smile was benevolent. He shook his head and said, “Do not thank me. I do this to curry favor with you.”
“Curry favor with me?” Kong Hou stared blankly.
“You are the most talented disciple of the main sect. Auspicious Pavilion is not important among the subordinate sects. Currying favor with you now is equal to currying favor with the main sect.” Pavilion Master Sun’s smile became even warmer. He took out a yellowed piece of vellum and handed it to Kong Hou. Drawn on the vellum was the appearance of the Cloud Seeking Tree. Looking at Kong Hou’s joyful expression, Pavilion Master Sun caressed his white beard and said, “Is my method of currying favor effective?”
“Yes, yes, yes,” Kong Hou responded while smiling. “I will praise your honored sect to all my shishu when I go back.”
The two smiled at each other. The entire bribery process finished in a joyful and peaceful atmosphere.
“No matter what, I am very grateful to Pavilion Master Sun for telling me this information.” Kong Hou bowed to the pavilion master. “I think I have some things to discuss with Path Friend Huan Zhong. I will have to leave you now.”
“As you please.” Pavilion Master Sun watched as Kong Hou hurried away, his smile still on his face.
He had not lied—he really was currying favor with Kong Hou. However, it was not for Splendid Cloud Sect, but for Kong Hou herself. As a divinator, the moment he saw Kong Hou, he discovered her features were extremely unique. She appeared as though she should have died very young, but due to one small thread of hope, she encountered a new opportunity. After this, she would have a smooth future, one full of good fortune.
Cultivators with good fortune were favored by the universal path. Those on good terms with those people were easily affected. Their fates would become better. If someone was at odds with a person who was favored, and they themselves did not have enough good fortune, their outcome would not be good. Pavilion Master Sun originally wanted to divine Kong Hou’s fate, but her fate had already been changed. Unless the sect master of Moon Star Sect personally made a reading, no one would be able to divine her fate now.
With his cultivation and abilities, his limit was seeing that Kong Hou had great good fortune. He didn’t know if there was something wrong with his method. Miss Kong Hou, other than her great fortune, also carried great sin. A girl of sixteen who had joined Splendid Cloud Sect before she was ten, and had not killed many people—how could she be carrying great sin?
Unless… it had been caused by her elders?
He had not wanted to make trouble for himself; he only wanted to act as a good host. But when he saw the young girl listening seriously to him about how to plant trees, and even crouching down with him to dig holes and transplant trees, he couldn’t resist saying a few more words.
As he grew old, he couldn’t help but become soft-hearted towards likable juniors. He had to change this fault of his.
“Miss Kong Hou…” Lin Hu saw Kong Hou come out. He had just injured his hand. She really divined the correct time. Kong Hou said, struggling through her excitement,” Elder Lin, I found a clue about the Cloud Seeking Tree.”
Lin Hu stilled. He had not expected a new clue to appear so soon. “Where is the Cloud Seeking Tree?” One of the ingredients of Master’s medicine was a branch of the Cloud Seeking Tree. But records about the Cloud Seeking Tree were few, and not even a diagram had been left behind.
“At Kui City,” Kong Hou said. “We need to get to Kui City as soon as possible, and search for where the secret realm will open.”
Lin Hu nodded. “All right, I will go immediately to prepare.”
“Wait…” Huan Zhong saw Lin Hu stride past him. He was going to call out, but Lin Hu had already gone far away.
“Huan Zhong.” Kong Hou ran in front of him and put the map and vellum in his hand. “Take care of this—do not lose it.”
The two pieces of paper were very light, but Huan Zhong felt they were extremely heavy. How much effort had Kong Hou paid in order to obtain this?
“Kong Hou…” Huan Zhong’s voice was hoarse. “Pavilion Master Sun gave you this?”
Kong Hou nodded and teased, “Pavilion Master Sun said he was using this to curry favor with me.”
“Curry favor?” Huan Zhong was still immersed in his emotions.
“Yes, Pavilion Master Sun said I am a genius of the main sect. For the future of Auspicious Pavilion, he has to curry favor with me.” Kong Hou smiled. “You have to remind me to praise Auspicious Pavilion more in the future.”
“All right.” Huan Zhong nodded, his eyes soft and warm. “I will definitely remind you.”
“Then when will we depart?”
“There’s no hurry.” Huan Zhong shook his head. “You and Path Friend Cheng Yi have not met for many days. It is all right to stay a few more days in Auspicious Pavilion. It will not take much time to travel from here to Kui City.”
Kong Hou was worried. “But I am afraid we will miss the opening time of the secret realm.”
“No,” Huan Zhong said confidently, “I have explored many secret realms before.”
“Oh, right.” Kong Hou realized—Huan Zhong had gotten rich through exploring secret realms. In terms of experience in secret realms, he definitely had more.
In a certain sect, a disciple charged into the main hall with joy on his face.
“Sect Master, good news!”
“Radiance Sect and Splendid Cloud Sect started fighting?” The square-faced sect master stood up excitedly and asked, “Did anyone die?” While he was ambitious, he did not want too many people to die.
The square-faced sect master sat back down with a cold expression.
“But Radiance Sect sent Auspicious Pavilion gifts, and it was a great amount.”
The square-faced sect master became energized. Radiance Sect was trying to steal from Splendid Cloud Sect? If Radiance Sect did this, how many subordinate sects would Splendid Cloud Sect have left?
Tsk, this was the biggest sect in Lingyou World, yet they were so shameless in their conduct.
Translator Ramblings: The poor square-faced sect master … you are a cynic in a world of optimists.